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Distracted driving legislation reduces fatalities in WV

There are various causes of car accidents. While some wrecks are simply an accident, others are caused by the negligence and recklessness of other drivers. When a motorist gets behind the wheel of a vehicle and fails to drive safely, they put several lives at risk. In order to promote safe driving and reduce fatalities due to negligent drivers, new rules and strict penalties are often passed.

According to recent reports by the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicle Commissioner, in 2014, highway fatalities dropped 18 percent. It was reported that there was a significant decrease from 332 deaths in 2013 to 271 in 2014. This is good news for 2015 and the commissioner believes that recent legislation has helped change driver behavior and increase awareness.

One major piece of legislation was passed in 2012 by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, which addressed distracted driving. This legislation bans texting while driving. In addition, it made it a primary enforcement offense. The law also included a ban on the usage of a hand-held cellphone, making it a primary offense to use one while driving.

Another helpful piece of legislation was the seat belt law, making it another primary enforcement law. Both this and the distracted driving legislation combined with public campaigns have contributed to the recent decline in fatalities on West Virginia's roadways. It is hoped that this trend will continue into 2015.

While legislation may help reduce distracted driving and penalize those who fail to comply with the law, these types of accident still occur. Those injured by a distracted driver should therefore understand his or her rights and options following a car crash. Liability could be placed on the distracted driver, and those injured or impacted by the wreck could file a civil action for losses and damages.

Source: WOWK TV, "West Virginia highway fatalities decline in 2014," Mar. 10, 2015

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